Since 2009, Global Citizens have taken over 24.8 million actions, which have resulted in more than 100 commitments made by governments, multilateral institutions, and corporations to help end extreme poverty by 2030.
Kareen Awadalla is one such Global Citizen. In fact, Awadalla has been an engaged Global Citizen since 2009, when she saw our CEO Hugh Evans speak at a venue in Toronto, Ontario.
Awadalla's education is in international development and journalism and, now 31 years old, she works as a freelance content specialist. She's been to Global Citizen Festival in New York and knows the importance of using our collective voice to inspire change and achieve commitments.
We asked her more about how she became a Global Citizen and why she thinks it's so important to take action to end extreme poverty.
I first became a Global Citizen in 2009 after my school, Centennial College, hosted the North American premier of 1.4 Billion Reasons at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. After the screening, Hugh Evans introduced us to the Global Poverty Project, and challenged us to realize our individual power to impact change.
I can't say I remember exactly what my first action was, but I will say the revelation that 1.4 billion people were living in extreme poverty moved me to sign up. When I found out that this many people were living on less than $2 a day, I also was inspired to sign up for the Live Below the Line Challenge.
In the past, I had participated in the 30-hour famine which forced me to experience something I was fortunate enough to not be born into/experience. I decided to take part in the Live Below the Line Challenge because it created an opportunity for dialogue when people would ask me why I was doing it. Hunger is a devastating reality. We live on a planet that produces enough food to feed everyone 1.5 times over. In my world, where food is a human right, that's simply unacceptable.
It's hard to narrow it down because I truly believe they are all interconnected, but since I already mentioned hunger, I'm also very passionate about women's health and education. I believe that by supporting and bolstering the capacity of women, many other important issues can organically serve to benefit.
Global Citizen made me realize that small action and simple changes could have huge consequences. It has empowered me to stand up for what I think is right, without the fear that whatever I have to say probably won't make a difference anyway. I have seen it make a difference, and this has motivated me to continue taking other small steps, such as by making a concerted effort to reduce waste and single-use plastic at home, and by boycotting fast-fashion retailers.
I think it's important to take action on global issues because we have a moral responsibility to do so. We have seen that our voices, when joined together, are heard by decision makers and world leaders who may not be prioritizing the issues we care about. When people are not receiving access to basic human rights, we are failing as a civilization. Apathy is not an option, and we cannot accept that this is just the way things are. It's up to us to stand up for justice and equality for all of humanity.
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